Mr. Michel's War

Overview

Mr. Michel's War is the memoir of a young U.S. Navy junior officer's combat experiences during the Battle of the Java Sea and of his life as a "guest of the emperor" as a prisoner of war. Following post-Pearl Harbor Japanese attacks on the Philippines, the Asiatic Fleet began a fighting retreat to the south. Along the way, Michel's ship, the Pope, a four-stack relic from World War I, participated in several aggressive counterattacks, surprising a much better equipped and organized enemy. On March 1, 1942, the ...
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1st Edition, Fine-/Fine- Clean, tight and bright. No ink names, tears, chips etc. Price unclipped. ISBN 0891416439

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Overview

Mr. Michel's War is the memoir of a young U.S. Navy junior officer's combat experiences during the Battle of the Java Sea and of his life as a "guest of the emperor" as a prisoner of war. Following post-Pearl Harbor Japanese attacks on the Philippines, the Asiatic Fleet began a fighting retreat to the south. Along the way, Michel's ship, the Pope, a four-stack relic from World War I, participated in several aggressive counterattacks, surprising a much better equipped and organized enemy. On March 1, 1942, the Pope, surrounded by a fleet of Japanese cruisers, engaged the enemy in desperate combat - and was sunk. Michel and several of his mates, clinging to liferafts, were picked up by the Japanese and sent to POW camps. It is here that Mr. Michel's war with the Japanese takes a different - and entirely fascinating - turn as a "guest of the emperor." He recounts surprisingly humane treatment under the Japanese, as he lived with other POWs first at Makassar in the Dutch East Indies, then in Nagasaki, ultimately ending up in Mukden, China, where he remained until August 1945 when an OSS team parachuted into his camp with the news of the Japanese surrender.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
As a junior naval officer, Michel served on the Pope, one of the dozen obsolete "four-stack" destroyers from the WWI era that fought a doomed rearguard action against the Japanese in the early months of 1942. Most of the Pope's sea time, Michel tells us in this engaging memoir, was spent on routine patrols of the Philippines and Java; its episodes of combat were almost too confusing to be terrifying. In port, repair and maintenance vied for importance with finding sources of food and liquor and taking advantage of opportunities to meet women. When the Pope went down after engaging a fleet of Japanese destroyers, Michel was taken prisoner, to spend most of the war in Japan, working as a laborer at a Nagasaki shipyard. Hunger, crowding and overwork took lives enough, but conditions were much better than those of the now notorious camps in southeast Asia. Even newspapers were available. By not challenging the guards and foremen beyond a certain point, the POWs were able to maintain a chain of command and enforce their own standards of discipline. Michel makes an excellent case for this system, often criticized in particular by enlisted prisoners. In a broader context, his narrative supports the contention that Japanese POW policies were essentially ad hoc (unlike those of Nazi Germany), depending more on circumstances and personalities than on concepts of honor or principles of racism. It is a tribute to Michel's character that he emerged from his ordeal able, as early as 1948, to make the clear-eyed statement published here a half-century later. Photos. (Feb.)
Booknews
Written in 1948, this memoir recounts a young US Navy junior officer's combat experiences during the Battle of the Java Sea and of his life as a "guest of the emperor" in Nagasaki and Mukden. Michel describes the battle as he saw it<-->from the crow's nest of the USS <-->as well as the sinking of his ship, and surprisingly humane treatment of the prisoners by the Japanese. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780891416432
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 11/4/1997
  • Pages: 297
  • Lexile: 1070L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.85 (w) x 8.76 (h) x 1.18 (d)

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